Teresa Fernandez

Qualification test providers and current solutions

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In these uncertain days, it is important to have an overview of how the Higher Education institutions are reacting to the crisis of COVD-19. A lot of students are now worried about their future plans, and in many cases that includes not only the academic programme itself but also the requirements to access the programmes.

When applying at a university, students usually need an English-language certificate, which proves they have enough knowledge to participate in classes and understand the textbooks and other study materials. In other cases, students need other types of qualification certificates (eg: GRE®, GMAT). Since the COVID-19 outbreak, all the test providers had to stop their offline activities, as well, leaving a lot of students wondering how they can still take the testing.

Bellow, we provide a general overview of the most common tests and their current solutions for students:

1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®)

As general information, TOEFL® is a very popular English certificate around the world. In most cases, it is offered as an internet-based test (TOEFL® iBT). Normally, the test can only be taken in specialised test centres. The TOEFL® certificate is valid for two years.

Their current solution:

To meet the needs of students who are unable to take the TOEFL ® iBT test at a test center due to public health concerns, ETS is temporarily offering the TOEFL® iBT Special Home Edition test. The test is identical in content, format and on-screen experience to the TOEFL®  iBT test taken at a test center. It is taken on your own computer at home and is monitored by a human proctor online through ProctorU®.

You can find further information here: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/toefl/at-home

2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS offers an academic version of their test, designed for academic and professional environments. IELTS is one of the most popular English language tests in the world and it is also accepted as language proof for certain work permits, as well as for immigration. The IELTS certificate is valid for two years.

Their solution:

In locations where it is permitted and safe to do so, IELTS testing is going ahead, with additional precautions in place to help protect the health of test-takers and staff. Requirements may apply depending on the region where you are taking the test. Test takers may contact our teams to discuss options for transferring to a later date or refunds. In some locations, we have had to suspend IELTS testing in line with the official requirements of healthcare authorities.

In these locations, we are putting detailed plans in place to ensure that test-takers are able to take their tests as soon as possible once the official restrictions are removed. You can check these locations here: https://www.ielts.org/news/2020/covid19-information-for-our-global-test-taker-community

3. Pearson English Language Test (PTE Academic)

The PTE Academic test has grown a lot in terms of popularity; an increasing number of universities accept it as relevant proof of English knowledge from aspiring international students. The PTE test is divided into 3 sections and the PTE certificate is valid for two years.

Their solution:

We have suspended testing in a number of our locations. In other locations, we are restricting the number of test-takers in each session in order to comply with official requirements and in the interests of protecting test takers and test center administrators.

Their solution can be found here: https://pearsonpte.com/articles/covid-19-information-for-pte-academic-test-takers-and-institutions

An alternative for the moment for PTE Academic is Versant English Placement Test. VEPT can be taken online or offline, covers all four communicative skills and is assessed using our patented AI algorithms. Because the test is machine marked, results are issued within minutes of the test being completed.

Find more about it here: https://www.pearson.com/english/versant/tests/student-placement-test.html

4. GRE General Test

The GRE® General Test plays a vital role in the admissions process for graduate and professional programs around the world, including business and law. The test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are required for success in today’s demanding programs.

Their solution:

To meet the needs of students who are unable to take the GRE® General Test at a test center due to public health concerns, ETS is temporarily offering a GRE® General Test at home option. The test is identical in content, format and on-screen experience to the GRE General Test taken at a test center. It is taken on your own computer at home and is monitored by a human proctor online through ProctorU®.

You can find all the detailed information here: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/gre/at-home

5. GMAT™

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT™) is a standardized computer adaptive test (CAT), required as part of the application process to many MBA programs around the world. The GMAT measures skills in the fields of English, Mathematics, and analytical writing.

Their solution:

Our goal is to open registration for an online proctored alternative to the Executive Assessment at the end of April. The test will be compatible with both Mac and PC, and will offer a comparable structure, time, and scoring as the exam delivered in the test centers. The check-in and security protocols will be modified to accommodate online delivery and remote proctors will be used to manage test integrity.

The alternative interim test will be available in impacted markets, outside of mainland China. GMAC is continuing to work with the Chinese government authorities to present appropriate, alternative solutions for test takers in mainland China.

You can check all the information by region in this link: https://www.mba.com/articles-and-announcements/announcements/update-on-coronavirus

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